Size Me


Hi, guys! We are a team of five undergrads at Duke working together to spread the science of body size! We are led by Dr. Craig McClain of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCENT). We collect data on the body size of the ocean’s largest animals and raise interest in research through popular media. –Frank Lee (Sizing Ocean Giants Team)

You’ve probably heard the tired old statistic that a blue whale’s tongue is as heavy as an elephant. I guess that’s pretty cool but wouldn’t it be even better to know how you (yes you) would compare instead? It’s time to get personal.

At 5’6”:

–       It would take 20 of me to be just slightly longer than the longest blue whale ever caught

–       I’m about the length of a blue whale mammary gland

–       I’m shorter than a blue whale penis is long

And going even further than just length: at an undisclosed number of pounds, I’m less than 1/2267 of a blue whale’s weight – helloo self-esteem boost.  Curious how you compare? Join in on Twitter with #sizeme to be measured against not only blue whales but great whites, leatherback turtles, giant clams and others. –Catherine Chen (Sizing Ocean Giants Team)

I’m 5’4″, meaning I am the same length as a leatherback sea turtles esophagus, and I am 2% of the typical mass of an elephant seal. Want to see how you measure up against the oceans giants? Tweet with the hashtag #sizeme and find out which ocean creature you size up against!  –Caroline Schanche (Sizing Ocean Giants Team)


Dr. M (1730 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, a National Science Foundation supported initiative. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web. His forthcoming book, Science of the South (, connects cultural icons of South such as pecan pie with the science behind them.